BILOXI -- When Ocean Springs High's top graduates boasted about their 2016 senior class, saying it was the best ever, they had documentation to back up their claim.
Principal Vickie Tiblier proudly presented a list of accomplishments of the Ocean Springs Greyhounds. According to U.S. News & World Report in April, the school was named one of the three best public high schools in Mississippi and one of only four in the state to acquire silver medal status. Further, the class produced three National Merit finalists, one winner, five AP scholars and 13 International Baccalaureates.
The school graduated 390 students in its commencement program Thursday at the Coast Coliseum.
Class orator and third-place honoree Sally Boswell, however, encouraged her fellow graduates to not rest on their laurels.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
"We are pretty much the best class to ever come through Ocean Springs," she said. "But let the past remain in the past.
"Live it up and show some kindness, because come tomorrow, we're out in the real world. No matter how successful and unsuccessful you think you were in high school, tomorrow is a new day."
Salutatorian Sunna Savani urged confidence, telling them they have the elements to do great things in their lives. Quoting author J.K. Rowling, she said: "We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better."
Valedictorian Patrick Cressler reminded the graduates happiness and success doesn't necessarily mean wealth and fame -- they must be balanced with enjoying and building relationships with family and friends.
"Money and success is great, but we must stop along the way and make sure we make beautiful connections with the people we care about," he said. "The diversity and differences in our class will actually allow us to make a difference in the world."
Cressler will go to Harvard University in the fall, where he will major in government. Savani will attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham and will double major in economics and pre-med. Boswell will head to the University of Mississippi and plans to major in math and international studies.